CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma said in a Christmas message that one should not lose hope for a good future.

Although he made the statement in a visit to 5,000 prisoners inside the Cebu City Jail, the message applies to those needing hope, especially those who lost loved ones this year whether in the war against illegal drugs or for some other reason.

“Don’t yield to temptations; trust God,” Palma told the prisoners. “Have faith that someday, when you are free, the change, joy and peace will be felt by you.”

The same wish for peace and joy applies to the many families who will be grieving this Christmas for the loved one no longer with them for this occasion. They, too, are in need of a message of hope. That one day they will find justice for the death of their father or mother or son or daughter or brother or sister or friend. That one day they can find comfort in the everlasting life of their deceased.

Among those feeling sad this Christmas are the families of the 36 people who died in the bloody war against illegal drugs in Talisay City. The names of the 36 listed in the SunStar website interactive report on drug-related deaths in Talisay City this year make you wonder how Christmas will be for those they left behind.

The report listed the 36 persons killed in police operations, mostly anti-illegal drugs, in at least 12 villages in Talisay City, Cebu from February to Dec. 18, 2018. Those killings happened in the following barangays: Pooc, Manipis, Tanke, Lagtang, Tabunok, Cansojong, San Roque, Lawaan 3, Maghaway, Jaclupan, Campo 4 and Bulacao.

Why Talisay? The report went on to cite a statement made last Aug. 21 by President Rodrigo Duterte about areas where the illegal drug trade remains rampant despite three years of the anti-drugs campaign. “Gaya ng Talisay. P____ I___ iyang Talisay na iyan. Mahurot mo diha hinay-hinay. (You in Talisay, you will all fall, gradually),” Duterte warned in that speech.


The happy side of Christmas is in one’s participation in its tradition. The misa de gallo or dawn masses for nine days leading to Dec. 25 is an occasion for family to hear mass together, have painit or breakfast, and enjoy the cool morning air.

Those unable to go to Church at dawn--because they can’t get up early or find a ride or there is no such mass in their place abroad--still have the chance to participate in the misa de gallo until Dec. 24 via live streaming by SunStar on its website.

At, viewers may watch the dawn masses held at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño every 4:30 a.m. The streaming is courtesy of the Basilica.

One grateful viewer posted this comment on social media: “Thank you, SunStar, for airing the misa de gallo every day. We, people abroad, are so happy to follow the nine days misa de gallo. Amen and God bless!”

A replay may be viewed at